Recollections of Jerusalem

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Anya Derrick’s life has been intimately connected to the earthly city of Jerusalem in Palestine where she was raised in the spirit of Holy Russia, as manifested in the life of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane convents, as well as the Bethany School. These recollections also offer a window into the struggles and aspirations of the Russian diaspora after the Communist takeover of the ancestral homeland. It shows how events such as the Russian revolution, its aftermath, and the Arab–Israeli conflict have shaped present realities.

Recollections of Jerusalem

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If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. Psalm 136:5

Recollections of Jerusalem vividly opens up to us a world very different from our own. It affords the rare opportunity to see major world events through the eyes of one shaped by them, but unable to influence them.
At the outset of World War II, the author, still a young child, travelled to Jerusalem with her mother on pilgrimage. Prevented by the conflict from returning to their home in Yugoslavia, they began a new life, intimately entwined with the city of Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, Anya was raised in the spirit of Holy Russia, as manifested in the life of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, the Mound of Olives convent, the Gethsemane convent, and the Bethany School. Her Spiritual life was nurtured by St John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco, Archbishop Antony (Sinkevich) of Los Angeles, Archpriest George Grabbe, Mother Mary (Robinson), and in particular the English Priest-monk Lazarus (Moore). Through Anya's eyes, we gain new perspectives into their lives and ministries.
Her experiences in Jerusalem would sustain her faith during later years, following her marriage in America, when the Church was geographically distant from Anya and her burgeoning family. Ultimately they would lead her back to the Holy Land with her husband and children.
From a historical perspective, these recollections offer a window into the struggles and aspirations of the Russian diaspora after the Communist takeover of their ancestral homeland. It shows how events such as the Bolshevik revolution, the Russian civil war, and the Arab–Israeli conflict have shaped present realities.

Anya Berezina Derrick was born in Belgrade, of Russian parents. She worked as a volunteer nurse in Jerusalem and as a librarian at a West Bank University. She holds M.A.’s in both Russian Language and Literature and Library Sciences. Now enjoying an active retirement, she lives in Everett, Washington.

Anya Berezina Derrick’s book “Recollections of Jerusalem” is an insightful look at a part of the Russian diaspora that is nearly forgotten. Many of us know of the large Russian colonies in Europe, the USA, Australia and China, but only a handful are aware of the Russian diaspora in Palestine before the fall of the Soviet Union. Reading Mrs. Berezina Derrick’s book gives insight into the lives of not only the White Russian émigrés living in a foreign land but, also shows the unique relationship between the Russians and their Arab neighbours. Also, the narration gives a sense of the pious life led by the Orthodox monastics, and how they interacted with the Arab and Russian communities in the tumultuous times following the Russian revolution.
Personally, Mrs. Berezina Derrick’s volume took me back to the Jerusalem that I remembered when I was a young monastic. Her recollections brought back many fond memories of a simpler time, and of people (monastic and laity) whose acquaintance enriched not only my life, but also all those who came into contact with them. Mrs. Berezina Derrick’s words were like a snapshot of an unrepeatable time long gone of a pious collective of monastics and laity; set in unique circumstances and in a land permeated with sanctity.

+KYRILL
Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Additional Information

Author Anna Berezina Derrick
Pages 198
Cover Soft
Width (mm) 154
Height (mm) 228

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